I had a feeling this regatta was going to suck when I paid $500 bucks to enter. Something just aint right to spend $500 to race against the same boats that we sail against in our OD races – for free. Oh that’s right – the was the NOOD regatta! A Big Deal as evidenced by the Big Tent and the, well the guys running around in Sailing World polo shirts, topsiders and khakis. I don’t know which one of the SW posse was the chubby one wearing glasses along with those polos, topsiders and khakis, but as he nervously greeted the crowd for the skippers meeting, the one and practically only message that he communicated was how glad he was that Sperry was the title sponsor (again), that Sperry had signed on for the next few years. Needless to say, I was on my knees, hailing the great Sperry for enabling us to spend $500 bucks to enter this regatta.
Oddly enough, only two big boat classes sailed Friday – Sunday, with the rest doing Sat and Sun only. Of course we were one of the Friday classes. How about next time you get all the classes to sail the same number of days? It is lame not to and looks pretty bush league, more of which I’ll get to in a minute.
Now, the truth is that we sailed a terrible regatta for the first two days. Couldn’t buy a shift or catch a break in the light and shifty air of Friday, and on Sat we were called OCS twice (one justified, one not) so we were looking for some redemption on Sun.
It was predicted to blow pretty good on Sun, and sure enough we started in about 22 true. Nice puffs in the mid 20’s were tough in the Tiger, but it was fun. We just don’t get those conditions that often here in Dago and we were digging it. The wind went right on the beat and we rounded second, hauled ass on the run and were halfway up the second beat when it was announced over the VHF that racing for the day was being abandoned. Abandoned??? Because it was blowing in the 20’s? Of course as soon as they abandoned, the wind moderated to what seemed about 18-20 – perfect conditions! We were pissed and sailed by the committee boat and chastised them for their terrible decision. Not one of them would hardly look at us let alone respond.
I’m sure there is plenty of blame to go around, and likely the decision here falls squarely on whatever PRO was "managing" our course, but it stupidly and prematurely ended the regatta, and I’m left wondering where that chubby little fella with the Sailing World polo, Dockers and Sperry Topsiders was when the decision to ruin his already marginal event was made? Perhaps on the phone with Sperry?
Funny, the entire crew had to sign liability waivers, and they started us, so it couldn’t have been too dangerous, which it clearly was not. Perhaps the weather mark drifted? Then shorten the course for the first race, reset the weather mark and get another race off. Seems pretty simple to us. To abandon the entire day because somebody made a bad decision is not acceptable, especially for the big bad NOOD. And I don’t want to hear the tired excuses that the R/C are ‘just volunteers’ and doing the best they can, or they didn’t have the proper tackle, etc. Kick down some of the outrageous entry fees and some of that Sperry Money and get people who are qualified to run a proper regatta. Because this wasn’t that.
Sailing World should be embarrassed by this shoddy work. But they clearly have their priorities in place because those SW polos and Sperry Topsiders sure looked sharp.